Liverpool-based charities Kind and Merseyside Buildings Preservation Trust have launched the search for a multi-disciplinary design team to deliver the long-awaited restoration of the grade two-listed Welsh Presbyterian Church in Toxteth.
The church has lain derelict since the 1980s and is considered one of Liverpool’s most at risk buildings. The trust bought the church in 2013, and is working with Kind, which has been awarded a development phase grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to progress designs for a centre of learning and excellence for children.
Kind is based at the Seed Centre at Back Canning Street, which was also a formerly derelict site. However the charity is at capacity in its current venue so is looking to expand, with a particular emphasis on eco-friendly and environmentally aware principles.
The predicted construction cost for restoring and converting the church and surrounding land is £5m. The design team is set to be appointed in January, with the aim of securing funding for the delivery phase by the end of 2020. Kind and the trust were previously advised by Chambers Conservation in the Lottery Fund bid.
There have been various proposals to restore the church, known locally as Toxteth Cathedral, however none were progressed.
The Victorian-Gothic church was designed by the Audsley brothers, and is made up of a nave and transepts, giving it a t-shaped footprint, and is connected to a neighbouring Sunday school block. Opened in 1868 for a non-conformist Welsh congregation, the building is seen as symbolic of the Welsh influence on the city of Liverpool.
While the years of neglect and vandalism mean that the interior is extensively damaged, with a caved-in roof and balconies, according to a heritage assessment the overall stone structure is stable and only localised repairs would be required.
Further details of the bid process can be found here: https://kind.org.uk/welsh-church-design-team